In Zeena’s Shoes

798 Words4 Pages
From an early age, one is taught to always remember that there are two sides to every story. One of the most influential books of all time, The Bible, stated “Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side..” (Proverbs 18:17). In Edith Wharton’s novel, Ethan Frome, Zeena Frome’s husband, Ethan Frome, has begun to fall in love with another woman, her own caregiver, Mattie Silver. While the book portrays Zeena as a negative and evil woman, if one considers Zeena’s side of the story, one would see that she is the true victim. Zeena is a victim of illness, helplessness, and a loveless marriage. While one may consider Zeena an irritating woman, who spends her day complaining, it is not an exaggeration that she is truly ill. Although it is suggested throughout the novel that her illness is all in her head, there are many signs that indicate that she is actually sick. For example, she constantly speaks of her shooting pains. In the novel, Zeena tells Ethan about her pain; "[Zeena] got [her] shooting pains so bad that [she went] over to Bettsbridge to spend the night…”(78). If Zeena’s sickness were only in her mind, to get attention, it would not be logical for her to leave to find help. However, the first thing Ethan thinks of when he hears of her pain is not his sympathy for her, but the financial burden the the trip to a new a doctor will cost him. Furthermore, when Ethan goes into their bedroom, the narrator states that Ethan found “[Zeena’s] mouth slightly open, her false teeth in a tumbler by the bed…” (88). While the reason is not known, it is not normal for a healthy middle-aged woman to lose her teeth, therefore it must have been her sickness. Zeena is constantly victimized by her own illness, and also her husband’s lack of sympathy for it. Another way Zeena can be considered a victim is in the way her husband, Ethan, does not care for her.

More about In Zeena’s Shoes

Open Document